(Price 10 Cents.)
FIVE ARGUMENTS IN THE FRANK CASE.
By Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
I— ANALYSIS OF THE MURDER NOTES.
II— THE WARDROBE PERJURY.
Ill— THE ELEVATOR PERJURY.
IV— DORSEY'S STAR WITNESS CONVICTS CONLEY.
V— JAMES CONLEY ACCUSES MARY PHAGAN.
37 & 39 SOUTH FORSYTH ST.
Atlanta, Ga.,_ 190-
put this order numbbr on yovr bill.
Bell Phone Main 171. Order IS o. ,
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Conley's Writing at Dictation of Police.
FIVE ARGUMENTS IN THE FRANK CASE.
By Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
I— ANALYSIS OF THE MURDER NOTES.
II— THE WARDROBE PERJURY.
Ill— THE ELEVATOR PERJURY.
IV— DORSEY'S STAR WITNESS CONVICTS CONLEY.
V— JAMES CONLEY ACCUSES MARY PHAGAN.
A Word Personal.
1 am an old Confederate soldier, of the 1st South Carolina
Volunteers. I fired one shot into Sumter, from an 8-inch Co-
lumbiad, April 13th, 1861. I was at the surrender at Appo-
mattox, April qth, 1865. Captured at Spottsylvania, after the
battle of the Bloody Angle, 1 was a prisoner of war at Point
Lookout, the Old Capitol, and Elmira. At Point Lookout two
days, I escaped, swam the Potomac, a mile wide, 14 miles be-
low Washington, was recaptured near Mt. Vernon, and im-
prisoned in Alexandria jail. At Elmira I again escaped, and
made my way through New York. Pennsylvania, Maryland,
and Virginia, back to Lee's army at Richmond. The details of
this adventure are published in a new war book on prison life.
My sufferings as a prisoner compel me to sympathise with
anyone who may be unjustly in prison, as is Leo Frank.
I have made a study of the Frank case from the beginning.
I am thoroughly satisfied he is innocent, and knew nothing
whatever of the murder.
To inform myself better, I went to Atlanta and stayed five
days, at my own expense. I am publishing this book at my
own expense, though I can ill afford it. I have put upon it a
small price, to reimburse me in part for the many I shall give
away. Any one receiving it. and wishing to send the price,
may do so. I am not asking it. I have not received one cent
from Frank's people, nor from anybody. I make this state-
ment to anticipate the low jibe of any vicious or crazy person,
or any person both crazy and vicious, who may say I am in
the pay of the Jews. Any such statement is false.
I.— AN ANALYSIS OF THE MURDER NOTES.
By nature I am fond of problems of all kinds, whether
of mathematics, philosophy, natural science, or mere me-
chanical tricks and puzzles.
My business is public accounting. In this work I some-
times have hard problems to solve: the harder, the better
I like them. Or mathematical ones, say like this:
Diagonally across a room 10 feet by 20 runs a carpet
three feet wide, its four square corners just touching the four
sides of the room ; what is the length of the carpet?
When you give this up, tell me why you thought it
easy to judge Frank guilty.
From the first, the Frank "case interested me. It was a
problem. .Was Frank the murderer, or was Conley? One
of the two certainly was. There is no third alternative. I
followed the trial through the papers, trying to draw a con-
clusion. Throughout the mass of testimony there was nothing-
fast to lav hold of. All the evidence was circumstantial, con-
fused, irrelevant, or contradictory. I wrote duplicate let-
ters to the two principal attorneys, Horsey and Rosser, giv-
ing some of my views and asking questions. Both treated
my letters with respect, answering me courteously. But
no real information. And when the trial was ended, and
the verdict given. 1 was still at sea. ( >nly this was sure: The
guilt lay between Frank and Conley. If Conley told the truth.
if Frank dictated the two murder notes, Frank was guilty:
it Conley lied, if Frank did not dictate the notes, then
Conley was the murderer. Did Frank dictate the notes, or
did he not?
If 1 could see the notes, study them, digest them, I
might form a clear opinion: but 1 could not expect to have
these notes sent to me. Then 1 read that photographic
copies could be had from Attorney Henry A. Alexander,
and from him 1 procured them. He asked me to write him
my conclusions, and this article is. in the main, my letter
of .March 22nd, 10,14, in reply.
As the son of an owner of slaves till my 18th year, then
as a Confederate soldier more than four years, and since
the war as a citizen of Augusta, Georgia: of Austin, Texas;
of New York City; and of Washington City, employing ne-
groes, I know somewhat of negro character and of negro
manner of expression. And I know somewhat of the white
man's ability ( and inability) to imitate him. And it ; s
my candid and fixed opinion, after careful scrutiny and patient
studv of these two notes, that there is not a white man,
either North or South, who could have dictated them. They
are negro throughout, beyond the white man's ability to
imitate. If Edgar Allan Poe, a genius with his pen, a
Southern man, failed, as he did fail, in his story of "The Gold
Bug," to write properly the dialect of the Carolina coast ne-
gro, how could a Northern man, in the South but a few
years, possibly express negro lingo? There is not one North-
ern writer who attempts to write negro but makes a ridicu-
lous failure. He cannot even read it; I have to stop my
ears with my fingers when I hear him try.
The negro swears that the note beginning "he said" was
the first note written ; and the note beginning "Mam" the
second note written.
This is manifest perjury. Read the two notes, first the
one beginning "Mam," then the other. They join smoothly,
in natural sequence. Reverse the order and read; they are
disjointed, not in natural consecutive.
"he said." Who said?
"play like the night witch did it." Did what?
Reading the "Mam" note first, the notes explain them-
Who said? "That negro" said.
Did what? "1 >id litis."
I contend that no sane man of fair mind can con-
sider this point and believe the negro.
Xow, while it is absolutely clear that he lies as to the
order in which he wrote these two notes, reversing (in his
testimony) the order in which he did write them, why does
lie lie about it? 1 was puzzled over this until, investigating
further, and understanding better the negro's character, 1 saw
that it was because, being conscious of his guilt, he was al-
ways afraid of the truth, and took refuge (as he thought) in
lies. Lying seemed always safer to him than the truth, so he
lied, through fear, even when the lie was of no value to hint.
"The wicked flee when no man pursueth."
Colonel Dorsey argues that the use of the word "did"
in the notes, and not "done." is proof of Frank's dictation.
That the negro would have written "done," and that thereby
Frank is convicted as the composer of the notes.
Colonel Dorsey is wrong. The use of the word "did"
argues exactly the contrary.
The use of "done" for "did" prevails of course largely
still with the negro race; time was when it was almost uni-
versal ; but in these days of negro schools it is one of the young
negro's first lessons that it is wrong to say "done" ; he must
say "did." And there are plenty of negroes in these clays who
speak properly in this respect, just as they have learned to
say "this and that" instead of "dis and dat." So the use of
the word "did" in these notes is no proof at all that they
are a white man's dictation.
Again, if Frank were dictating the notes he must neces-
sarily keep in mind, all the time, that these notes, when
found, would at once be known not to be by Mary Phagan,
that soon or late they would be known to be Conley's hand-
writing, therefore he would have to keep out of them any
sign, even the least, that they were of his (Frank's) suggestion.
Now, while the Northern man is quite incapable of writing
negro, he does know this, that "dis and dat," and "done" (for
did), are essentially negro. And Frank is just as smart as
his critics, and he would take care, if he were dictating the
notes, or suggesting them, that he must use "done," and not
"did," if the notes were to be attributed to Conley alone,
free from his suggestion. Therefore, that the word used is
"did," and not "done," is evidence that Frank did not dictate
the notes, or see them at all. And Conley, a young negro,
had learned that "did" is right, and "done" is wrong.
Colonel Dorsey contended that Conley, in his testimony,
always said "done," and not "did." Grant, for the moment,
that he did. Any man, be he white or black, will always
write more correctly than he speaks. In speaking he is
less careful. Many lapses are made by white men, even
educated men, in speech, that they would not make in writing.
But a few days ago a child corrected me for saying, "J done
it," an inheritance from my childhood. But I'd never write it.
But Colonel Dorsey 's contention in this, as in nearly all
his contentions of moment, is broken down by the facts,
as absolutely as the negro's testimony is broken down by the
facts. See, in the Brief of Evidence, how many times in his
testimony the negro said "did."
"And I did as he said."
"You asked me what I did the second Saturday; I don't
"As to what I did the next Saturday, I disremember."
"The Saturday after that I did some more watching."
"I don't remember what I did the Saturday before Thanks-
"I don't remember what I did the Saturday after Thanks-
"1 don't know, sir, what I did the next Saturday."
"The next Saturday I did some watching for him."
"Snowball and me did just plain labor."
"I couldn't tell you the first time he did this."
"I did my best."
Twelve times. How many times did he say "done"?
And on the 19th of January, 1915, at the Atlanta court-
house, in an interview with Conley, Rev. J. E. White asked
him. "Would you like to see Mr. Frank hung?"
"That's his business," the negro answered, ".Mr. Frank
knows what he did."
I said that Frank, if dictating or suggesting the notes,
would bear in mind all the time that Conley would become
known as the writer of them. Necessarily so. Because though
they purport to be written by Mary Phagan, it must be im-
mediately clear, when the notes were found, that they were
not her writing; indeed, that under the circumstances it would
be impossible for her to write at all. That then inquiry
would soon develop the fact that the notes were in Conley's
handwriting. That then, Conley being accused, he must
necessarily, in his own defense, disclose that Frank dictated
them, and accuse him of the murder. This would be a certain
and inevitable sequel, that Frank would have to face Con-
ley's accusation. A much less quick mind than Frank's
would see this absolutely. Then why prepare for himself so
fatal a trap? Would it not have been suicidal and idiotic?
And Frank is no idiot. Nor is he a bungler. And Conley is.
To write those notes and place them by the child's body was
an idiotic blunder. To contend that the note beginning "he
said" was the first note he wrote, and that the note beginning
"Mam" was the second note he wrote, is an idiotic blunder.
Conley is not smart; he has a low cunning: that is all.
Now again. In the second note (the first note, as the
negro calls it), Conley writes the word "land" (for laying),
meaning "lying." If the use of the word "did" instead of
" done" be considered evidence that Frank dictated the
notes, what about the use of "laying" instead of "lying"? Is
it to be supposed that Frank, an educated man, does not
know that "laying" is wrong? Or is it rather to be supposed
that Conley, the ignorant negro, does not know it is wrong?
What about "hoo" and "wase" and "sleam" and "wood"
Now again. In the second note he says, "play like the
night witch did it." Think of that combination, will you?
"Night witch did it." "Did" proving (so Colonel Dorsey in-
sists) that Frank dictated the notes. And "night witch" prov-
ing— what? That Frank dictated "night witch"? Is it pos-
sible that any sane man can credit such stupidity of thought?
"Play like"! A childish term that every white boy dis-
cards before he is ten years old, but is retained by the ig-
norant negro just from paucity of his vocabulary. Had Frank
dictated these notes he would have said "pretend"; he never
would have thought of "play like." Nor would any other
white man. It is too childish, too niggery. Even as these
two notes, in their entirety of mode of thought, mode of ex-
pression, and imbecile blunder, are of the nigger, niggery.
They fit in well with the savage brutality of the murder.
Now again. If Frank dictated these two notes, (one three
times over before he was satisfied, Conley swears), then
why was Frank satisfied with "night witch"? A term so vague
in meaning that it would surely be misunderstood by many,
as it has been misunderstood. Frank, they say, is a smart
man : would that be smart?
When the detectives, to test his handwriting, dictated to
Conlev the two notes, he wrote, not "night witch." as in the
original, but "night witchman." meaning night watchman,
thus proving that he understood the note. For the reason that
he composed it himself.
But when they dictated the note to Frank, he, unfamiliar
with the note, misunderstood the dictation, and, instead of
writing "night witch," he wrote "night which." Thus prov-
ing that the notes were new to him, and were not dictated
nor composed by him.
In like manner, when they dictated "Mam," he misunder-
stood, and wrote "Man." (See photographic copy).
The negro swears that he wrote the two notes at the
same time, at Frank's desk, on paper taken from his desk, and
at Frank's dictation. They were not written at the same
time. The "Mam" note was written first and the other
afterward, with some interval of time elapsed— an after-
thought. This is clear for two reasons :
First, because the first note, at its ending, is badly
crowded, with the manifest intent to get all in on that sheet ;
so much crowded, in fact, that the last word, -me." is written
under the last line, on the bottom edge of the sheet. Had
he intended to write more he would not have so crowded
at the end; anyhow, he would have carried the word "1116" to
the next sheet. This is further evidenced by the general
fact that he was very free with his paper, giving himself plenty
of room, even skipping lines. The beginning was on the third
line, and two other full lines were skipped, besides leaving
wide margins in beginning lines. As are not thus left in the
second (and shorter) note. This crowding at the end of the
first note shows that he did not then intend to write a sec-
Second, because the writing in the second note, although
unmistakably the same hand, is smaller than that in the first
note. I observed this on first inspection of the notes; then,
having enlarged photographs made. 1 measured carefully, with
surveyors' compasses in 32nds of an inch, all the letters in
both notes, and I found that the letters in the first note ex-
ceed in height those in the second note in proportion of 120
to too: that is. they are one-fifth higher, in elevation, on the
average. This is a very great difference; and it is to be
accounted for by the second note being written later than
the first note by some interval of time. when, probably, the
nerves of the writer had recovered somewhat from the ex-
citement of the murder.
That the second note was written at all is due, I have
no doubt, to an oversight made in writing the first note. In
the second note it is said : "That long tall black negro."
The first note does not so read. Tt reads: "A long tall negro
black." A strained, unusual, inverted expression, the word
"black" out of its proper place before "negro." Examine in the
photograph this word "black." It is crowded in, at the end
of the line, the last letter, "k." upon the very edge of the
sheet, not fully formed, and its stem running across the "c."
There was no need thus, to crowd it in if the next line below
were blank. But it was not blank : it had already been
written. And it is not Conley's way to crowd ; he gives
himself plenty of room, as is easy to see. Note that the
previous word, "negro," already extended beyond the writing
on the line above. What he wrote was this:
"he push me
"down that hole
"a long tall negro
"that hoo it wase
"long sleam tall negro
"i wright while play with me."
describing an imaginary negro the antithesis of himself. Af-
terward, noting that he had not written "black," (hehimself
being brown), he wrote the second note, in which he brought
in the descriptive "black," and "play like the night witch did
it." Then, to make the first note conform, and add its
testimony to the -man being black, he crowded in the word
"black." after "negro," making the very awkward and un-
natural reading, "a long tall negro black."
So the two notes were not written at the same time, as
be swears they were, at Frank's desk. They were written in
the basement, on scraps of paper which were there in abun-
Now again. If these notes were written at Frank's desk,
at his dictation, or suggestion, after several trials, (as the
negro swears), why did Frank allow him to begin on the
third line from the top, and to skip the fourth and sixth lines,
when Frank would very well know, from the experiments
made, that the sheet would be crowded at the bottom, as it is?
It is too absurd for any one of good sense to believe. The
crowded condition at the end of the first sheet, and the plenty
of room on the second sheet show that the first sheet was
intended to be all, and that the second sheet was an after-
thought, written later, after some interval, as a postscript.
The negro swears that in writing the first note, (the one
he calls the second), he wrote, "that negros hire down here,"
and that Frank corrected him, making him rub out the "s," in-
forming him that "negros" means more than one negro. A
manifest lie, this, for any six year old pickaninny knows that
"negro" means one only, and "negros" two or more. Nor
does he himself write "negros" for negro. In his obscene
letters to the Carter woman, he writes negro. And he writes
it correctly, not "negros." Once he wrote, "that negro may
have got out on bond," and once, "i have got a negro watch-
ing you." (See photographs.)
Yet he tried to play a trick on me and his lawyer. In
May. 1914, I had an interview with him, in the Atlanta jail, in
the presence of his attorney. -Mr. Win. M. Smith. Mr. Smith
would not allow me to see him alone. That was before Mr.
Smith became converted to the full and absolutely honest
belief in Frank's innocence, and the negro's guilt. I said
■•Jim write me something," handing him paper and pencil.
This, remember, was long after the Carter letters. He wrote:
/ V^ l ^y i ! iq jl\
•■.Mama that long tall black negros did this by himslef
hi said lay down play like the night witchmau did it but
that long tall black negros did it by his slef."
This was a low negro trick, done with the manifest in-
tent of having me and his lawyer to believe that he did not
yet know better than to write "negros" for "negro," and to
believe, consequently, that his story of the murder notes was
true. He is the damnedest liar in Georgia.
Now, here is another consideration, a most important
one. He swears Frank engaged him to come back that after-
noon to burn the body, but he went to sleep and did not
come. If that were true, if Frank intended to burn the body.
of what earthly use, then, would these notes be to Frank?
Would they not be utterly useless, in the way, and have to be
destroyed? Then why should he take so much pains to pro-
duce notes that would have to be immediately destroyed? The
burning of the body would be to make it appear that Mary-
had run away or been kidnapped, while the notes were to
make it appear, contradictorily, that she had been foully dealt
with by a "long tall sleam negro black." who was not Jim
Conley. Is it not perfectly clear that these two stories are
thoroughly and flagrantly contradictory of each other? Is
anybody accusing the negro any more vehemently than he
accuses himself by uttering these two contradictory stories,
both of them false? Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
II.— THE WARDROBE PERJURY:
HOW COULD MARY PHAGAN BE IN TWO PLACES
AT ONE TIME?
(This article first published in Augusta Chronicle, June t<),
J914. was reprinted in many papers throughout the country).
Mow could Mary Phagan be at home alive, and at the
factor}-, being killed, at u 105 a. m.?
flow could she be at home eating her dinner and in the
factory basement dead at 11:35 a - m -? •
How could she be leaving home for the car and be in the
factory basement dead at 11:45 a - m -~-
How could she be on the car, on her way to the factory,
and in the factory basement dead at 12:02 p. m.?
Mefore going on the stand to swear against Frank (and
to save his own life), the negro, James Conley, swore to four
different tales as to the murder — tales of minute detail — all
of which he acknowledged on the stand to be lies. He is,
therefore, a four times self-confessed perjurer.
I have seen, and handled, and read, and I have photo-
graphic copies of the obscene letters which James Conley, this
four-times-self-confessed perjurer, wrote to the negro woman,
Annie Carter, in the Atlanta jail. These are most positively
his writing. He does not deny it; it would be useless. These
letters are not merely obscene, too obscene to print —
"too terrifically obscene to be allowed through the mails,"
as United States District Attorney Codington decided — but
in them the negro states to the woman, in foulest langu-
age, his preference for the base crime of sodomy to the act
of nature. Not once merely, but again and again and again
he states his desire and intent to commit with her this foul
crime, gloating in the bestiality of his filthy thought and pur-
pose as a dog wallows in carrion.
It is upon his testimony, and his alone — this lying negro,
this four-timcs-self-confessed perjurer, this base sodomite —
that a white man, Leo Frank, is condemned to death. Leo
Frank, of whom I have heard said, "He will not tell a dirty
tale, nor will he listen to one."
This negro perjurer swears that after Frank and himself
had taken Mary Phagan's dead body to the basement and had
returned to Frank's private office and were there talking,
Frank, Avalking into the outer office exclaims: "My God, here
conies Emma Clark and Quincy Hall. Get in this wardrobe.
damn it. quick." (Quincy is as the negro pronounced to me
the name Corinthia. Emma Clark is Mrs. Emma Clark
Freeman.) That Frank hustled him into the wardrobe, a
thing it would have been utterly silly to do, even had Mary
Phagan been then murdered. As she was not, for she did nol
come to Frank's office till half an hour after they had gone.
That he heard the ladies come in ; that he heard Miss Emma's
voice savins, "Good morning. Mr. Frank ;" that he heard them
talking in low tones, but that he did not hear Mrs. Freeman
call up her husband through the telephone, as she did do,
(lie heard their voices talking low, but he did not hear the
call through the telephone.) Why did he not hear it? Be-
cause he lied. Fie was not in Frank's office nor on the second
floor, where he said the murder was committed, any time
These ladies — good, respectable white Southern women —
loth swear that they came into Frank's office about n :35 a m.
Mrs. Freeman there using the telephone, and that they left
about II :45 a. in.
MisS Hattie Hall (no kin to Miss Corinthia Hall) sten-
ographer for Montag Bros., as nice a girl as one may know,
whom I talked with, swears that she was in Frank's office,
typewriting, from n o'clock till 12:02, and she confirms the
testimony of these two ladies as to the time they were there.
Other corroborative testimony as to the time is that of Mrs.
J. A. White, E. K. Graham and O. Tillander.
The negro perjurer (Conley) swears that the murder was
done half an hour before he was put into the wardrobe — that
is, about 11:05 a - ni - — if these four ladies and two men speak
the truth (and there is other evidence confirming theirs as to
the time). Now, at 11:05 a. in. Mary Phagan was at home
helping her mother in the housekeeping, as I have learned
from her mother. How could she be at home alive and
at the factory being killed at the same time?
At 11:35 a - m -> when the negro perjurer swears he was
being unnecessarily hustled into the wardrobe, the murder
being done some half hour before, Mary Phagan was at
home eating her dinner, so her mother swears. How could
she be eating her dinner at home and be lying dead in the
At 11:45 a - '■"•. when the negro perjurer swears he was
being let out of the wardrobe, the murder being done some
forty minutes, Mary Phagan was just leaving home for the
car, so her mother swears. How could she be just leaving
home and be lying dead in the basement both at the same time?
And at 12:02 o'clock, when .Miss Flattie Hall was leaving
Frank's office (the child being dead, according to the perjurer,
Conley, an hour.) Mary Phagan was on the car on her way
to the factory, as is sworn to by street car conductors and
motormen. Mow could she be on the car and be lying dead in
the factory both at the same time?
White men of Georgia, white women of Georgia, who is
the liar? Are these good Southern women, are these good
Southern men all to be branded liars and the word of this
base negro perjurer, swearing to save his life, to be taken
instead? Are these four respectable white Southern women,
whose word is as good as mine or yours, any one of whom
might happen to be your wife, or sister, or daughter, to be
classed in belief beneath this base negro perjurer, this beastly
sodomite? Has Georgia come to that?
I am an old Confederate, a man of the old time when
Georgia was proud of her white men and white women. I
ask, has Georgia come to that?
Colonel Dorsey, in his speech to the jury, spoke af-
fectionately of this beastly negro as "Old Jim — Old Jim."
Who knows how far this undeserved euphemy of a brute may
have influenced the jury and the public in his favor and against
Frank? Who knows?
"Old Jim" — as though this base young negro was one
of the old-time gray-headed darkeys whose vigilant faithful-
ness is woven into Confederate history, watchmen in the
night who loved their masters and mistresses as they loved
"Old Jim" — young hell fiend ! Jim Conley is one of these
salacious young negroes whose lustful eyes follow white
women as they pass, deterred from attacking them only by
fear of the noose and the white man's revolver!
I have called this negro sodomite beastly; I apologize to
the beasts. Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
III.— THE ELEVATOR PERJURY.
(This article was a letter in answer to some of my
friends who asked me for my reasons for believing Frank
innocent. It was published in The' Augusta Chronicle, De-
cember 21, 1914.)
Dear Sirs: I have your letter asking my reasons for
believing Leo Frank innocent of the murder of Mary Phagan.
I am willing to give you some few of my reasons on one
condition — that you will not reply, as some of my good friends
have done, "Oh, hell, the jury found him guilty." As though
"Oh hell'" were a proof or an argument; or as though juries
had not made wrong verdicts hundreds and hundreds and
hundreds of times. So many times found wrong too late —
when the victim of their judgment was beyond recall to the
life they had taken away.
My reasons are many and strong. In the short space of
a letter I can give you but a few of these many.
I have made a close study of the case from the beginning.
As a rule I refuse to read accounts of crime, these being dis-
tasteful to me, as much so (or nearly as much so) as are the
repulsive caricatures of humanity in the so-called funny
papers. But this case was a problem: Who killed Mary
Phagan? And problems fascinate me.
As the trial progressed I was unable, from the conflict-
ing testimony given, to form a conclusion. But when the
negro testified that after Frank and he had taken the child's
body to the cellar (as he swore) and that Frank, in his
office, had given him $200 as hush money, and then taken it
back, I saw a light. For I knew, from long experience as an
accountant, that it is extremely rare a wholesale house has
in hand $200 in money after bank hours. And men who
carry $200 in their pockets are exceeding few.
I wrote to the contending lawyers, Dorsey and Rosser, a
joint letter, the same to both, stating my grave doubt of the
truth of this testimony. And suggesting that they bring into
court the cashbook and checkbook of the factory, and ascertain
whether, at that time, $200 was in the drawer. This is easily
done by subtracting from the cashbook balance the amount in
bank ; the difference is the cash in the drawer.
Both attorneys replied courteously, thanking me for the
suggestion. The books were brought into court, and the
cash balance was found to be $26.20. There was not $200
in the drawer to give the negro. As for Frank having $200
of his own money, it was found on examination of Frank's
private checkbook that he had been drawing $5 from his bank
every few days— April 9th, $5; April 15th, $5; April 24th, $5.
(The murder was on the 26th). Would a man with $200
in his pocket be drawing small $5 checks at short intervals?
I asked Conley, in the jail, "Jim, if Mr. Frank took the
money back, how did you know it was $200?" "I didn't know
it," he replied, "Mr. Frank said it was $200. Anyhow, it was
a big roll." Would any man carry a big roll when he could
easily get it changed into tens and twenties? The negro lied,
as was his habit. And he was lying to save his life.
In my article in The Chronicle of June 18th, "How Could
Mary Phagan F.e in Two Places at One Time?" this was
my argument :
At the trial the negro, confessing he had perjured himself
four times, told a fifth and different tale. He swore that after
Frank and he had taken the child's body by the elevator to the
cellar, they went then to Frank's inner office and were there
talking when Frank, walking into the outer office, exclaimed,
"My God, here comes Quincy Flail and Emma Freeman ; get in
this wardrobe, damn it, quick." That Frank hustled him into
the wardrobe, that he heard the ladies come in, heard their
voices talking low, but he did not hear Mrs. Freeman call her
husband through the telephone. As she did do.
Being asked if they used the telephone, nc was afraid
the question was a trap, he was afraid to say yes. and he
was afraid to say no. So, cunningly he said he didn't hear
the call through the telephone. When he had just heard their
voices "talking low." It was safe enough to say he heard
"Good morning, Mr. Frank,"— of course they would say that.
These ladies did conic to Frank's office. The negro learned
that by reading the papers or by being coached. But. as to the
time they were there, he makes it an hour and a half later than
the time they were actually there! And by so doing he makes
it evident that his whole story of the elevator and the ward-
robe is pure fabrication.
These ladies both swear that they came there about II 35,
used the telephone and left about Ii:45- Mi?s Hattie Hall,
stenographer for Montag Brothers, who was there writing
letters for Frank from before n o'clock till 12:02 (she looked
st the clock on quitting, so she told me), swears she was
there when these two ladies came and went; that they were
there from about 11:35 to 11:45 and that Conley did not
come there at all. Two men, also, came to the office at that
time, F. K. Graham and < >. Tillander, as did also Mrs. J. A.
White and their testimony confirms that of these three ladies.
Graham and Tillander came together to get pay due their boys.
Both cite the time as "about 11:40." Mrs. White, wdio saw
Graham and Tillander there, says: "Miss 11 all and Mrs. Free-
man left first, then 1 went. That was about 11 :5c "
Unless, then, we are ready to believe that these four good
Southern women and these two good Southern men, whose
reputations for truth are unchallenged, swear falsely, and that
this four-times self-confessed perjurer speaks the truth, we
must believe that the time the two ladies were there was
about 11 135 to U45,and not an hour and a half later.
The negro swears that the child was killed about half an
hour before they went to Frank's office ; that it took them that
time to dispose of the body. That would make the murder,
then, about 11:05 a - m - (For the two ladies came at 11 : 3 5 . >
But at 11:05 Mary Phagan was at home, helping her
mother in the housekeeping: f learned that from her mother
At 11:35 a - ni - when the negro swears he was being
hustled into the wardrobe, Mary Phagan was at home, eating
her dinner, so her mother swears.
At 11:45 a. m., when the negro swears he was being
let out of the wardrobe, Mary Phagan was leaving home for
the car, so her mother swears.
And at 12:02 o'clock, when Miss JIattie Hali was leaving
the office, (the child being then dead, according to the negro,
an hour), Mary Phagan was on the car, on her way to
the factory, so the conductors and motormen swear.
How could Mary Phagan be in two places at one time?
Conley's tale of the murder of Mary Phagan by Frank
by strangling her with a cord on the second floor; of Frank
and himself taking the body to the cellar on the elevator: of
Frank taking him to his office and there giving him $200
as hush money, and then taking it back ; of Frank's then hid-
ing him in the wardrobe, half an hour after the murder, to
conceal him from the two ladies coming into the office— all
this is true, or it is not true.
If it is true, Frank killed Mary Phagan.
If it is not true, it is a lie told by the negro with but
one possible motive— to escape the consequences of the crime
committed by himself. No other motive is conceivable.
Therefore, if the tale of the elevator and the wardrobe
is a he, the negro killed the child.
It can be proved— it has been proved— that it is a lie.
Let us review the argument. Her mother and the car-
men swear that Mary Phagan took the 11:45 car from home.
The carmen swear that she got off the car (on time) at 12:10—
two minutes' walk to the factory. Frank says she arrived at
his office about 12:15. got her money. $1.20, went out. and
he saw her no more. She must have been killed, then, about
The negro swears that half an hour after the murder
(which would be about 1 o'clock) he was hustled into the
wardrobe on account of the arrival at the office of the two
ladies. Six white people swear these ladies arrived at or
Both these accounts cannot be true. Either the six white
people swear falsely, or the negro does. If we believe the
six white people, then we must believe the negro lies, and his
whole story of the murder tumbles to pieces. And as he can
have no motive for falsely accusing Frank but to escape pun-
ishment for the crime committed by himself, then the negro
did the murder, and Frank did not.
But if we can believe that Frank did the murder, then
we must believe the negro's story to be true ; we must
believe that tine two ladies came to the office about i o'clock,
and not about 11:35. That means that we must believe that
these four good white Southern women and these two good
white Southern men, with reputations for truth unchallenged,
swore to a lie, and that the drunken, obscene negro jailbird,
four times self-confessed perjurer, spoke the truth. Although
he was swearing for his life.
This argument is as exact as mathematics. Its conclu-
sion is as certain as simple addition. If any one believes
Frank guilty, he must believe these six white people to be
guilty of perjury.
Are we to believe, then, that the twelve jurymen w r ere
so recreant to their race, so regardless of the fair name
m| (ieorgia, as deliberately to ascribe perjury to their white
fellow citizens, deliberately to exalt above theirs the word
of this base, self-admitted negro perjurer? I do not believe
i believe that the twelve jurymen are Southern enough,
and white enough, to believe, in this, exactly as I believe.
Hut. in the clamor and turmoil of the trial, they lost sight
of the fact, obscured by the smoke of the battle, that right
here lay a vital crux of the question; they did not realize
that these testimonies were in direct and irreconcilable con-
flict; that if they give credit to the negro's story of the ward-
robe they brand these six good white people as liars immitig-
able. But if these twelve jurymen will study the case as I have
studied it they cannot fail to see — and see clearly.
Now, we may dispute oral testimony if we will; we may
disbelieve six respectable white people and believe, if we
will, one dissolute, perjured negro swearing for his life: but
there is one testimony it is impossible to dispute— a physical
One such physical fact is that, with all the controversy
about stains on the floor, as to whether they were blood or
paint, no blood was found on the elevator.
Another incontrovertible physical fact is this: The negro
swears that about two hours before the murder he went to
the basement and there eased himself, on the ground, under the
elevator, the elevator itself being at a floor above. He did
do this, for, the next morning, when the police came and
went down through the trapdoor, by the ladder, they found
this matter there, untouched. Later, when they used the
elevator, the elevator came down on it and (as they say)
"mashed it. making a smell."
Now, it is the testimony of every one in the factory
that whenever the elcvatur goes to the basement it is always
allowed to strike the bottom. Conley, himself, at the trial,
swore ("see Brief, page J 2). -When the elevator goes to the
basement it hits the dirt." And again he says, "The elevator
don't hit hard when it hits the ground."
That the elevator is always allowed to hit the ground
there is thoroughly good reason.
The elevator moves slowly, the jar is hardly perceptible,
it is dark down there, so that if one going down should stop it
purposely he would likely stop it an unknown height above the '
ground, and might get hurt getting off in the dark. I went
clown with Mr. Schiff, the head clerk, with a lamp. The ele-
vator struck the ground gently. "Now I will show you." said
Mr. Schiff, "that it is not customary to stop the elevator pur-
posely." With that he grasped the chain, as though to stop the
elevator, and showed me his hand. The palm was red with
iron rust. I saw at once that if it were customary to stop the
elevator purposely there would be no iron rust there — the fre-
quent contact of hands with the chain would keep it free from
rust. And remember, Conley himself says, "it hits the dirt."
Then, if the child's body was taken down on the elevator
two hours after the negro's peccadillo, why was not this
excrement then mashed as it was mashed the next day. when
the police first used the elevator? There is but one answer to
this question: The negro perjurer lied : the elevator was not
used the whole day of the murder. Therefore, the body of
Mary Phagan was not taken down on the elevator — the negro
pushed her down through the trapdoor. "He push me down
that hole," so the murder note reads.
"Mam that negro
"hire down here did
"this i went to make
"water and he push me
"down that hole-
"a long tall negro black
"that hoo it wase
"long sleam tall negro."
Conley being short, and chunky, and brown. This clumsy
effort to foist his crime upon an unknown negro (the antithesis
of himself, please notice) was made at the time of the murder,
long before Frank was accused. He was brought to see the
utter folly of this claim, and then, when Frank was suspected,
he turned his accusation against Frank, claiming that Frank
dictated the notes to him on the day before the murder !
Sometimes I think it must be wonderful amusing to Satan
to hear all this clamor against Frank, and to see the real crim-
inal slipping through the rigid fingers of the law, escaping
justice. I imagine the grin on his face.
I could give you many other reasons — good ones — -why
Frank did not kill Mary Phagan, and why Conley did; but if
these will not convince you, neither would the rest — not if told
by an angel from heaven. Yours very truly,
Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
IV.— COLONEL DORSEY'S STAR WITNESS
CONVICTS THE NEGRO.
One of the State's most prominent witnesses in the Frank
trial was Miss Monteen Stover. With the exception of the
negro. Conley, she may be rightly termed its Star Witness.
Miss Stover's sworn testimony was that on the day of the
murder she came to Frank's office to get her pay : that Frank
was not in his office; that she waited five minutes and went
away, Frank not appearing.
Colonel Dorsey credits Miss Stover absolutely — I know
no reason why he should not — and he contends stoutly that in
these five minutes Frank was engaged with the murder. Not-
withstanding the fact that Miss Stover left the building at
12:10, and that it was not possible for Mary Phagan to have
arrived before 12:12.
Miss Stover swears that she came at 12:05. and went away
at 12 :io, — looking at the clock on coming in, and on going out.
Now, if she came into Frank's office at 12:05 s ^ c must
have arrived at the street door below at 12:04, for it is one
minute's walk, (forty seconds to be strict), from the front door
to the stairs, up the stairs, and down the hall to the office.
The negro swears that Mary Phagan came before Miss
Stover, went to Frank's office, then in a little while walked
back with Frank to the metal room.
"After she went upstairs I heard her footsteps going
"toward the office, and after she went in the office I
"heard two people walking out of the office and go-
"ing like they were coming down the steps. But they
"didn't come down the steps, they went back toward
"the metal room. After they went back there I heard
"the lady scream, then I didn't hear no more. (He
says he went to sleep. Immediately after hearing a
girl scream!) "The next person I saw coming in was
".Miss Monteen Stover."
So, according to the negro, Mary had come, had walked
back with Frank to the metal room, been struck by him, and
had screamed, before Miss Stover came.
How long before Miss Stover's coming was the scream?
Colonel Hugh Dorsey, — listen now close to me, — you
claim to be a fair prosecutor, — was it ten minutes? Will you
allow it to be ten minutes? No?
Will you allow five minutes? No? Two minutes? No?
Will you allow one minute, — one little minute, — the next
to nothing? What? yes, you will? Oh. thank you. But you
had it to do, or else Miss Stover would hear the scream as she
enters the front door, as Conley swore he heard it, sitting in a
few feet of that door.
One minute back of 12:04, then, is 12:03. when you say
Mary is heard to scream.
How long, then, before Mary's scream did Mary get off the car?
From the corner of Broad and Hunter Streets, where, ac-
cording to the conductor and the motorman, she got off at
12:10, to the factory door, is two minutes' walk. From the
door to the stairs, up the stairs, and down the hall, to Frank's
office, is a quick forty seconds. May I call that an even min-
ute? I may? Thank you. Thank you for the twenty seconds.
That makes three minutes.
For Mary to ask Frank for her pay, (supposing oven that
she did not have to wait while he was adding a column of
figures), for Frank to look up her envelope, and give it to her,
for her to go and then return, and ask, "Mr. Frank, lias the
metal come?" and to receive Frank's answer, "No," would take
surely not less than two minutes. That makes five minutes.
Even if Frank, desiring conversation with Mary, (as the
prosecution would have us believe), had not detained her with
a little talk, with a little flattery, with pretense of being un-
able to find her envelope quickly, with all those subtle arts
that any lover knows, which would have indubitably stretched
the two minutes to five, to ten. to fifteen. But you insist upon
your pound of flesh, call it two.
For the two then to walk down the hall together, past the
head of the stairs, to the metal room, for some talk then to
ensue, the entreaty, the repulse, the scuffle, and for Mary to
scream, would certainly take all of three minutes. That makes
eight minutes. Eight minutes from the time she got off :he
car to the scream. (And any sensible man knows that eight
minutes is much too little).
\\ e have figured the scream, by the negro's testimony, to
be certainly not later than 12:03. Eight minutes back of 12:03
makes 11:55, then, when Mary should leave the car. But ac-
cording to the conductor, Hollis, and the motorman, Mat-
thews, she left the car at 12:10 and not any sooner, — that the
cr.r was clue at Broad and Hunter at 12:10, and that the car
was on time then and all that day.
Colonel Dorsey, with strenuously dutiful effort to elicit
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, strove
his mightiest to induce the car men to admit that the car was
ahead of time, that the negro's story might "fit,"' or that the
car might have been ahead of time, at least some little. The
negro's story needed "fitting." But they, unawed by him and
his vehemence, stuck to it that the car was on time, and that
Mary left the car at 12 :io.
Hut, (granting eight minutes only), the negro's story of
the murder and the scream compels Mary's leaving the car at
n :55, — fifteen minutes ahead of time!
Will those twelve jurymen who found Frank guilty
swallow so preposterous a tale as that a car in Atlanta was
fifteen minutes ahead of time? They did swallow it. But
they did not know they were swallowing it. If they had known
it they could not have found Frank guilty. The trouble was,
as I have said elsewhere, that in the clamor and turmoil of the
trial neither they nor the public c6uld perceive and realize that
in these disagreements as to time, disagreements irreconcil-
able, lay absolute disproof of the story of the crime invented
by the negro and his helpers. "That don't fit. Jim, that don't
fit!" And they didn't get it to fit. after all. And lies, lies,
lies, are not going to fit, gentlemen. Fit them at one place
and they are out of joint at another. When once you get at
them, study them, analyse them, compare them, one with an-
other, "they don't fit, Jim, they don't fit !"
Fifteen minutes ahead of time !
\\ "ho lies, then? Does conductor Hollis lie? Does motor-
man Matthews lie? Does Miss Monteen Stover lie? Or does
this four-times self-confessed negro perjurer lie? And if the
negro lies in this, his whole story of the murder tumbles to
pieces, as it tumbled to pieces with his lies of the wardrobe,
and his lies of the elevator.
If the car was fifteen minutes ahead of time, as the negro's
perjury compels, then -Mary Phagan did not get on the car at
ii :4S, as the conductor swears, and as the motorman swears,
and as Mary's mother swears.
Who lies, then? Does conductor Hollis lie? Does motor_
man Matthews lie? Does Mary Phagan's mother lie? Or
docs this four-times self-confessed negro perjurer lie? As he
lied about the wardrobe, and as he lied about the elevator.
And there can be but one motive for his lying, but one mo-
tive conceivable, — to shift from his own shoulders to Frank's
the guilt of the murder.
And I say it, and I mean it, that this base negro's story of
the crime is so utterly incredible, is such a manifest web of
perjuries, that it is a shame to have to discuss it.
V.— JAMES CONLEY ACCUSES MARY PHAGAN.
In all the evidence that came out in the Frank trial there
was none from any quarter that cast suspicion on Mary Pha-
gan. One and all gave Mary the credit of being a nice girl.
Frank says of her that he did not know her. but that he has
no reason to believe other than that she was an innocent child.
All are in agreement in this; all the testimony is alike.
The negro, James Conley.
This base negro points the accusing finger at Mary Phagan.
Read his testimony.
"Friday evening, the 25th 6f April, (the day before
'"the murder), Mr. Frank came to me and said he
'•wanted me to come next morning at 8:30; he had
"some work for me. I got to the factory about 8:30:
"Mr. Frank and me got to the door at the same time!
"Mr, Frank said. "I want you to watch for me like you
"have been doing the rest of the Saturdays.' "
Thereupon, the negro immediately asks leave to go to the
Capital City Laundry to see his mother, a request which Frank
promptly grants, instructing the negro to meet him at the
corner of Nelson and Forsyth, when he, (Frank), would be re-
turning from Montag's, two hours later.
If this lying negro's story were true, (as it is not), there
would then be this condition of things: That Frank knew a
girl was coming and that Frank engaged the negro to watch
the door for him. That Frank must know at what time ^ she
was coming, or he would not so promptly let the negro go
away for two hours, during which two hours it might be she
would come. And Frank could not know at what time she
was coming, except by an agreement with her.
The negro's story, therefore, carries with it the unavoid-
able implication that there was an understanding between
Frank and Mary, — an assignment. Thus, although he is lying,
this base negro becomes-the accuser of Mary Phagan!
Having thus by implication accused her, he further con-
firms it by this testimony:
"After she went upstairs I heard footsteps going to-
"ward the office, and after she went in the office I
"heard two people walking out of the office back to-
"ward the metal room."
The day was a holiday, Memorial Day, work suspended,
workpeople absent, the factory deserted, silent, and still. Yet
the negro's story has Mary to come by agreement with Frank,
and now to walk back with him alone, down that long hall,
silent, still, deserted, and through the folding doors to the
metal room. The negro lies, but in his lying he thus again
becomes the accuser of Mary Thagan !
Nor does the fact that he lies relieve him of aught of
obloquy in thus accusing her as no one else accuses her; his
perjury but adds to the depth of his infamy.
If I were but seeking to show the turpitude of this foul
negro I could stop here content. But I feel it my duty to this
innocent girl to prove what I have said, that in this the negro
lies, that this is one more perjury in the long list of perjuries
of which he is guilty. Take Up his testimony.
Friday evening, the 25th of April, Mr. Frank came to
"me and said he wanted me to come next morning at
"8:30; he had some work for me. I got to the factory
"about 8 :30 : Mr. Frank and me got to the door at the
At the same time) A manifest lie. A feat hardly possible
to accomplish even had they had best watches set for the pur-
pose. And all the watch the negro had was a clock on a
steeple that he passed on his way.
■'Mr. Frank said, 'I want you to watch for me like you
"have been doing the rest of the Saturdays.' "
From which we are to infer that the negro watched for
him every Saturday !
"I said, 'Mr. Frank, I want to go to the Capital Uty
"Laundry to sec my mother, and he said, 'As you
-come back from the Laundry stop at corner of Nel-
son and Forsyth till I go to MontagV. I got to the
"corner of Nelson and Forsyth between 10 and 10:30.
"Mr. Frank passed by me going to Montag's. I don't
"know how long he stayed at Montag's."
Why don't he know? He knew how long Miss Stover
staved upstairs. He said "she stayed a pretty good while, not
so very long either." This is the kind of testimony that
"couldn't be broken down.'" Fog, just fog,-how are you go-
ing to "break down" a fog? Mere wisps of fog. ha/.y and in-
tangible; cobweb strands twisted by the cunning of a black
Satan into a halter for an honest man's neck. Mere fog, like
tirades against Frank 1 have read, by scriveners with reputa-
tions for logic far and away above their mentality. Hard beset
for argument, these draw forth as from a stiletto sheath, in-
vective, insult, insinuation, innuendo, stab with them and call
it argument. When, for real value for showing what they
should show, and do not show, that Frank is in truth guilty, it
is not worth five cents. Nothing is worth but clean, clear-cut
argument. This is a clean, clear-cut argument:—
The negro lied throughout his testimony.
He could have no motive for lying but to save his own life.
Therefore he did the murder.
Therefore Frank did not.
"He came out. and when we got to the factory we
"both went inside, and he put his hand on the door
"and turned the knob, and says. " 'You see, you turn
"the knob just like this, and there can't nobody come
"in from outside.' "
-You see."— Showing him now, in petty detail, as though
it were the first time, how to do the very thing he claims to
have been doing "all these Saturdays!" Is that a sensible lie.
or is it a fool lie?
"And there can't nobody come in from outside." There
can't! Then why employ the negro in this at all? Why take
the negro so unnecessarily into his confidence, actually plac-
ing himself in the negro's power, for any amount of blackmail,
and paying him, to do a thing Frank could do for himself just
as well as the negro, and better? Can any sane man believe
•"Now there will be a young lady up here after
"awhile, and me and her are going to chat a little.' '
Colonel Dorsey made much capital out of the negro's quo-
tation of Frank's word "chat." Saying that if this account
were not true, the negro would not have known that was a
favorite word with Frank. And saying to the jury that Frank
had used the word four times in his statement to the court.
He used the word six times. The word was so much used by
him that in two years' time at the factory the negro had
abundant opportunity to catch on to it, and bring it into this
piece of perjury. He was given to tricks like that. Like the
trick he tried to play on me and Lawyer Smith in the jail,
writing "negros" for negro, as though he did not know any
•' 'When the lady comes I will stomp like I did before,
" 'and you go and shut the door. And when I whistle,
'"you unlock the door and come upstairs like you
" 'were going to borrow some money from me, and
'■ 'that will give the lady time to get out' "
More detailed instruction that he would have known by
"1 said. 'All right.' and I DID as he said. 'Now. what-
ever you do, don't let Mr. Darley see you.' I says,
" 'All right, I won't let him see me.' And I sat there
"on the box. The first person I saw after that was
"Mr. Darley ; he went upstairs."
Let us analyse this fool tale. Frank engages the negro to
come at 8 :30 to watch for him. Frank would not need anyone
to watch at the door. With the door locked, what would there
be to watch? Frank could lock the door himself, and that is
all the nesro could do. or that he said he did do. Arriving at
the door (together!) the negro at once asks leave to go away,
and this leave, of two hours, Frank promptly grants!
Now. Frank would either know that Mary was coming,
or he would only guess it. If he knew it, he could only know
it by an agreement with her. Such agreement would necessar-
ily specify the time she would come. The time she did come
was 12:12. Yet the negro's story is that he was told to com
at 8 130, four hours before the time that would have been agreed
with Alary, during which four hours the negro must remain
idle, liable to be seen by Darley, whom the negro is strictly
cautioned against being seen by. And the very first person
that passes after he docs take his seat is this same Mr. Darley.
If Frank did not know Alary was coming, but only guessed
it, then why, when he had instructed the negro to be there at
8 :3c should he promptly dismiss him for two hours, not
knowing but that Mary might come during those two hours?
If answer is made that he himself had to be away two hours,
then why did he not, in the first place, instruct the negro to
come at 10:30, instead of hanging around two hours, subject
to being seen by Darley?
The negro's story is rotten.
Arriving the second time at the factory, at 10:30. he says
Frank goes into much detail to show him how to manage the
lock, — the very thing he says he has been doing "all these
Saturdays." And that he must lock the door when Frank
"stomps", and unlock it when he whistles — the very thing lie
says he has been doing "all these Saturdays." Why the ne-
cessity of this minute detail of instruction after this long ex-
perience of "al] these Saturdays?"
The tale is rotten.
"The next uerson I saw come in was Miss Marv
" Perkins, that's what I call her, this lady that's dead:
"I don't know her name."
The monumental liar! To pretend now. after three
months in jail on account of the murder, after hearing her
name in those three months hundreds of times, as he must
have heard it, — to "play like" he does not know her name!
Rotten, rotten, rotten !
"After she went upstairs I heard footsteps going to-
"ward the office, and after she went in the office I
"heard two people walking out of the office, and going
"like they were coming down the steps, but thev
"didn't come down the steps, they went back toward
"the metal room." ("Going like!"— "Play like!")
It was contended that Frank had a fancy for Mary, that
he had been seen addressing her. Even that she had said she
was afraid of him ! That was the story of the 14-year-old Epps
boy. the one that afterward had to be sent to the Reformatory.
Think you now of the absurdity of Mary's going alone to
Frank's office on a holiday, when she would be almost sure to
find him alone, and she afraid of him! Tf she had to have
her little pay, certainly then she would have her mother or
some friend to go with her. That she did go alone to Frank's
office, without asking- any one to go with her, without any in-
timation of fear to her mother, is proof absolute that these
tales about Frank are lies, and that she had no fear of him
Think you now, again, of the rank absurdity of Mary
walking down that long, silent, lonely hall, alone with Frank,
the factory empty and still, on a holiday, and she afraid of him !
Think of the utter absurdity of Mary, trembling, thus walking
with him, when there were the broad stairs and the front door!
If this base negro perjurer's story were true, (as it can-
not be), if she thus walked willingly with him to the metal
room, would Frank need to strike her? The question is shock-
ing! It is monstrous! The abominable concoction of lies of
this base negro — he thus the accuser, the sole accuser, of Mary
Phagan — beautiful and chaste Mary Phagan — is so repulsive,
is such an utter wreck, is so rotten in all its details, that it is
a shame, an insult to intelligence, to have to discuss it.
Mary Phagan was not afraid of Frank. She had no rea-
son to be afraid of him. She never told anybody she was afraid
of him. If she had told anybody that, she would have told her
She came to get her pay. Frank gave her her pay, and
she went down the stairs, purse in hand, to her fate. To where
this base negro, his money spent, his brain afire with drink and
lust, sat waiting for something to happen. "He push me down
that hole." Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
THE TRIPPING PERJURY.
I have said that the negro is stupid. Some people will not
believe that, but he is. Tie has low cunning, that is all. His
writing the notes and placing them by the body was stupid.
He relied on them, in his savage nature, through a vague in-
heritance of the superstition that deems the inscribed birch
bark a power in itself. No white man would have written the
notes or placed them there.
Here is another proof of his crass stupidity. He swore at
the trial as follows: (See P>riel of Evidence, page 56).
"\\ hen we got near the second floor, (going up on the
elevator, after placing the body in the cellar). Mr. Frank tried
to step off before it got to the floor, and his foot caught on the
second floor as he was stepping off, and that made him
stumble, and he fell back, sort of against me."
It is not necessary to ask any man properly equipped with
brains, it is not necessary to ask any white man, Is that story
true? It is false upon the face of it. A man stumbling in that
way would not fall backward, he would inevitably fall forward.
Why does the negro lie like that? Stupidity.
That was what he swore at the trial. Two months before,
on May 29th, 1913, he swore before G. C. February, Notary
Public, as follows: (See Brief of Evidence, page 290.)
"Then Mr. Frank hops off the elevator before it gets even
with the second floor, and he makes a stumble, and he hits the
floor and catches with both hands, and he went on around to
the sink to wash his hands, and 1 went and cut off the motor,
and I stood and waited for Mr. Frank to come from around
there washing his hands, and then we went on into the office."
This lie is a plausible lie. It could have been true. Trip-
ping thus, a man would fall forward; he might catch on his
hands and have to wash them.
Why, then, did he change the plausible lie for an impos-
sible lie? Stupidity. He got to thinking it over, and he con-
cluded that a man, tripping thus, would fall backward instead
of forward. Of course he didn't let his white friends know he
was going to change it. They would have vetoed the change.
As they vetoed another act of stupidity. See brief of evi-
dence, page 282, Conley's sworn statement before G. C. Feb-
ruary, N. P., May 24th, 1913.
"On Friday evening before the holiday, (that is, the
day before the murder), about four minutes to 1
"o'clock, Mr. Frank come up the aisle and asked me to
"come to his office. When I went to the office he
"asked me could I write, and I told him yes, I could
"write a little bit, and he gave me a scratchpad and
"told me what to put on it, and told me to put on there
"dear mother, a long tall black negro did this by him-
"self," and he told me to write it two or three times
"on there. I wrote it on a white scratchpad, single
"ruled. He went to his desk and pulled out another
"scratchpad, a brownish looking scratchpad, and look-
"ed at that writing and wrote on that himself. He
"asked me if I knew the night watchman, and I told
"him no, sir. I never did see him down there. He told
"me he had some wealthy people in Brooklyn, and
"then he held his head up and looking out of the cor-
"ner of his eyes and said. 'Why should I hang?' and
"that's all I remember him saying to me."
Such crass stupidity! To swear Frank had him to write
the murder notes, — or one of them, — and to say to him, "Why
should I hang?" on the day before the murder! As though
Frank were planning the crime ! This testimony before a jury
would inevitably hang Conley, so it was vetoed. Read the
testimony of I'inkerton detective Harry Scott, (Book of Evi-
dence, page 81).
"We questioned Conley three hours May 25th. He
"repeated his story of 24th. On 27th we talked to him
"five or six hours. We tried to impress on him that
"Frank would not have written those notes the day
"before the murder. That it was not a reasonable
"story. It showed premeditation, and it would not
"do. We pointed out why the statement would not
"fit. We told him we wanted another statement. 1 le
"declined to make it, said he had told the truth. On
".May 28th Chief Lanford and I grilled him five or six
"hours again, trying to make clear to him several
points which were far-fetched in his statement. We
"told him his statement would not do ; it would not
"fit. He then made the statement of May 28th. May
"29th we had another talk with him. Talked to him
"almost all day. Pointed out things in his story that
"were improbable, and he must do better than that.
"Anything in his story that looked out of place we
"told him wouldn't do. As to the number of matters
"I told Conley didn't fit the first time, and those I told
"him didn't fit the last time, I couldn't name them, it
"would be almost impossible."
If there are those who, after knowing these enormous
perjuries of the negro, antagonistic as they are to common
sense and to the consistent testimony of reputable white peo-
ple, can still believe Frank guilty, surely they are capable of
believing, were it but craftily enough whispered into their ears,
that their own grandmother was Benedict Arnold.
But it proves what I said, that the negro is stupid. It took
four days of hard grilling by the detectives to convince him
that a premeditated murder story would not "fit." If they had
let him alone he would have been hung long ago.
1 was sorry to read Ex-Governor joe Brown's letter
against Frank in the Chronicle. If he will study the case with
his usual care and thought he will know he is wrong.
Reading his letter, I was reminded of an incident of my
boyhood, (that's a long time ago, — "not so very long either"),
in old Edgefield. A sheep had been killed in the night in a
pasture. A poor cur of the neighborhood, a kind of waif,
kicked about (like the Jews) from one resting place to another,
was suspected. At a meeting of the neighbors, at the country
store, a kind of trial was held, — very informal and noisy,— and
the dog was sentenced to die. By the halter. There was no
dissenting voice. The dog hadn't a friend, and his tongue had
been tied by The Great Master.
But one old farmer, Joe Martin,— Uncle Joe everybody
called him,— sat mighty Still, chewing his tobacco with energy,
and spitting on the hot stove. As the rope was being made
ready Uncle Joe arose, thrust his hands into his breeches
pockets and, looking sideways down at the floor, he said,
"Boys, can't you give the poor dog a chanst? It was my dog
done it ; go and ketch him."
Uncle Joe Brown, can't you give the poor dog a chanst?
Mightn't it have been your dog that done it?
"Mr. Frank was standing at the top oi the steps.
"shivering and trembling and rubbing bis hands, lie
"had a little rope in his hand-- a long wide piece of
"cord. His eyes were large and he looked funny out
"of his eyes. His face was red."
"He had a little rope in his hands." It was not the cord
with which Mary was strangled: that cord was at that mo-
ment around her neck. Mould Frank then pick up another
cord and go to rubbing it? For he was rubbing his hands,
and if the cord was in his hands he must be rubbing the cord.
What for? This lie seems not quite explicit. Seems like it
needs a little rounding out. Seems like Conlcy's friends over-
"His face was red." Kind of jolly ! Just after committing
a murder ! All we have ever read and heard and seen about a
man going deathly pale at such a time is rot. lie goes jolly
nil. Jim Conley says so: and "Old Jim" wouldn't lie.
Not if he thought it was the truth.
The negro says Frank stamped ( for him to lock the door)
after the murder, while the body was still on the second floor.
And that Frank whistled (for him to unlock the door) while
the body still lay there. Frank thus of his own will subject-
ing himself to discovery, while handling the body, by people
coining up, through the unlocked door, as they had been com-
ing all the morning. A man who can really believe that is
not sane. What better proof of the negro's Stupidity than to
tell such a tale! To do such a tiling would be stupidity; to
tell such a tale is stupidity; to believe such a tale is stupidity.
"The pocket book was a wire-looking whitish-look-
"ing pocket book, — had a chain to it. You could take
"il and fold it up and hold it in one hand."
To be sure. You could TAKE IT,— and fold it up,— and
hold it in one hand, — and put it in your pocket. To be sure.
"If 1 have to go and take something."
if you do i will try to give yon anything in this world if
"i have to go and take SOmthing cause you have got t"
"have to have it honey."
Old Jim! Old Jim! Honest old |imt
It has been said to me many times, a negro, committing
such a crime, would not come back to the factory; lie would
flee the town. Conley knew better than to flee, lie read the
papers; he knew flight would be proof of guilt, and that he
would never get hack alive. Conley's return is not unique.
Fifteen years, to tgoo, I was bookkeeper & cashierfor Excelsior
Mills. Tlie mildest mannered nigger we had, — smooth as Jim
Conley. was Oscar Johnson. One Saturday night I paid him
his week's wage. That night he decoyed his wife's sister to
a lonely place, assaulted her, killed her, and left her dead body
hidden in the 'weeds. Sunday night he went back, shouldered
tlie stiff body, pitched it over a fence, and buried it in a sand-
bar. Monday morning he was on his dray as usual, and stav-
ed there till he was arrested, lie confessed, was judged de-
ranged, sent to an asylum, where he escaped, went to Char-
leston, killed two old people, and was hung.
Circumstantial Evidence. What is it worth?
I n 1884 I traveled a month in Mexico with Mr. G Gunby
rordan, of Columbus, Ga. In that time we discussed nearly
e er u in-, from the tariff to the Pyramids of Cholula And
fynch law & To say why he was opposed to lynch law, he told
" t S .Sa somewhere, a girl was attacked by a negro
On release she aroused the neighborhood. At the place tracks
W eref?u„d running across the 0™^ &™*J%& £
on the trail, soon pulled down a negro. His shoes fitted ^the
tracks exactly. Lined up with other negroes, the girl at once
mcked Wm out, "he is the man." A prompt lynching followed.
Se yea7s after, a negro was hung in Arkansas for murder,
iuic'l i on the gallows he confessed that he did that deed.
The negro savs he heard Mary scream and then promptly
M , Any human being so callous as to go to sleep
af er hearing a girl scream.-indicating, as under the c.rcum-
st mces it .nust.'-u. attacks-would be capable of murder, rape
stances 11 u, Thpr0 is no m an so callous in the whole
SJ^ESW W^ U — "» heard « *h,»
"he push me down that hole.
Colonel Dorsey argues that Frank showed great ner-
vnuMU . s . trembling, asking for coffee, and so on The hi s or>
, f the case shows that Frank is a very nervous man. in w 1 at
I „ t -mt would Frank's nerves be. just alter a murder
u c he had any part? Would they be steady or unsteady
rve seen and examined closely both the original lettei
that Frank wrote his uncle and the Financial Statement made
iflL 1 m I declare that in neither is there the sbghtes
See of nervousness. The entire writing is smooth, without
1 '^,0 .nor. The figures in that statement smalpe-
fee fv formed, are absolutely without tremor. Even the ^
Stive pencil figures at the tops of the columns, -the carry
fi^Iin adding, are perfectly distinct No man could pos-
sibly write such a letter or make such figures, having ust
committed a crime, or having any part in it. It is impossible.
\ s this goes to press I read that Conley swears now he
(li( , no S t writ ethe obscene letters to the Carter woman -th£
they were written by the white man who runs the elevator m
the jail. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! And isnt he the most
rottenest liar that ever stank in human nostrils."
Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga.
Frank's Writing at Dictation of Police.
£MA^M^ r ^&~ ^tU^tld^
/J (f * v
Second murder note written.
Conley says it was the first written.
The note on the front page was the first. Conley says it was the
vJ&q^Ldj®A w. , til . . £j